Recent comments made by Sen. Phil Gramm, John McCain's economic adviser, described Americans as a "nation of whiners." This shows us how out-of-touch our national leaders are. With the country suffering from an economic malaise of generational proportion, we see these elitist attitudes funded by corporate interests and supported by divisive syndicated media propagandists.
But the jig is up, America is not buying any more; just look at the polls. No longer are the Rush Limbaughs or Bill O'Reillys swaying public opinion. They can blame our problems on partisan politics, using for example the "drill, drill, drill" mantra of Republicans to affix blame, but that will do nothing to solve our energy problems.
Former President Jimmy Carter addressed energy policy in an April 18, 1977, speech. But President Ronald Reagan dropped all the initiatives outlined in President Carter's energy self-sufficiency speech and instead promoted smaller government and unregulated free enterprise. These policies have brought us the S&L crisis of the 1980s and our current unregulated housing crisis that eventually will cost American taxpayers in bailout money.
The current drill, drill, drill campaign will do nothing to ease energy prices. Oil produced by domestic exploration will be put on world markets, where the price is set. Demand is growing fast in China and other emerging markets.
Unless demand is lessened or our government switches to other forms of energy, prices will not retreat.
Ottawa Lake, Mich.
A recent contributor to the Readers' Forum wrote about the benefits of using chemicals to increase crop yields. Although the no-till method of farming may save some amount of fuel, the writer neglected to mention that the alternative requires the use of genetically modified organisms and soaking the soil in glyphosate, the herbicide commercially known as RoundUp.
Genetically modified crops include corn, soy, canola, and alfalfa, among others. Farmers usually spray the herbicide once before planting, killing everything, then spray again after planting just to be sure. They are over-applying this deadly chemical just to increase their crop yield by a few bushels.
The chemicals seep into the local watershed after it rains. For us, this means into the walleye runs of the mighty Maumee River and into leisurely Lake Erie. The chemicals are almost impossible to filter out completely.
Not tilling your land may prevent erosion; however, monoculture farming depletes the soil of its nutrients, even if you rotate your crops every few years. Regional biodiversity is killed off by the glyphosate; thus, there is little hope for soil to replenish itself the way nature intended, regardless of fertilizer use. For plants to be nutritionally beneficial, they need to get enough nutrients from the soil.
Regardless, the genetically modified corn isn't your farmers' market sweet corn; it's industrial corn - humans can't eat it raw and it has no nutritional value. More than 50 percent of corn produced in North America is genetically modified, as is more than 80 percent of soy. Industrial corn is either exported or used for controversial biofuels, fattening grain-fed cattle, or processing high-fructose corn syrup, which is causing an epidemic of type-2 diabetes.
Ignorance is bliss? Ignorance is a burden for those of us who know the truth.
The July 3 issue of The Blade reported events at a recent Waterville Council meeting during which Mayor Derek Merrin described a petition that was presented by a group of Waterville residents as "a power grab and everybody knows it."
The petition proposed a change to allow a member of council to make a nomination to the Historic District Commission if council had not approved an appointment by the mayor within 60 days.
Since taking office in January, Mr. Merrin has chosen not to reappoint members of committees and boards whose terms are up. I was one of the members of a Waterville village committee who was not reappointed for a new term. I served four years on the Board of Zoning Appeals, following my husband's term as mayor. I cannot remember missing a single meeting.
Even though Mr. Merrin did not present the name of a candidate who could be considered for the position until June, he refused to consider my request to be reappointed. I sent in an application and two e-mails stating my desire to continue. I received no response to either. I attended two council meetings and stated my request publicly.
After a council meeting, I asked why I was not being reappointed. Mayor Merrin said he did not want to appoint me. No other reason was given. I never received written notice that I was not being considered for the position, nor did I receive a thank you for my four years of service.
I am one of many longtime Waterville community volunteers who are being treated in this manner. I believe the only one who is interested in "grabbing power" is Mayor Merrin himself, and I am very much concerned that Waterville village council will lose many talented and dedicated volunteers in the process.
Nancy E. Myerholtz
A letter writer to The Blade's July 2 Readers' Forum decries the Supreme Court decision on habeas corpus, saying that POWs do not deserve the same rights as American citizens.
He then goes on to say that these people being held have all done something against the United States, thereby setting himself up as judge and jury and convicting them without hearing the evidence against them.
That's what the government is doing too. It says that they are guilty, so, in fact, they must be guilty. Presenting evidence in court is not necessary.
Can you not see the possible ramifications of this kind of policy?
These people allegedly have done something against the United States. But without the ability to confront their accusers or even to hear the evidence against them, which has often been shown to be flimsy at best, they become political prisoners, held to allow the government to be able to say to us, "Look, we're doing our job."
They deserve their day in court, just as we say everybody in the world deserves. That is our policy, right?
This letter is in response to two letters in The Blade's July 2 Readers' Forum. Both writers objected to the U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning the "detainees" in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I take strong issue with their sentiments.
1) The detainees are innocent until proved guilty
2) To prove them innocent or guilty, a trial is needed
3) To date, the due process has been either very slow or nonexistent.
What, I ask, is wrong with the United States that it is unwilling or unable to afford basic protection?
The writers mentioned World War II. Would it help to mention that even the Nuremberg trials were conducted in such a way that Albert Speer, the architect who served Adolf Hitler with devotion and efficiency, was given prison time rather than being executed?
Surely we as a country can do as well today.
Before we allow drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge we should carefully consider whether it would be in our national interest to plunder one of our few remaining readily available domestic sources of oil. Rep. Bob Latta correctly
asserts that even with alternative sources of energy, America will need oil for decades to come. All the more reason for us to refrain from drilling in ANWR to help ensure that domestic oil will be available for our children and grandchildren.
We would be wiser to focus our immediate efforts on conservation and development of alternative energy sources. It s a matter of national security.
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